A small city in the Donetsk region has been at the center of an epic battle for half a year and continues to hold on.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy says that the Ukrainian troops do not leave Bakhmut, because the occupiers will then want to follow on and the question will be which city they want to capture next. At the same time, Russian regular units and mercenaries from the PMC Wagner continue to attack the city from three sides.
The Threat to the Tracks
The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation claims that the troops of the invaders captured the villages of Blagodatnoye and Podgornoye. These are the northern outskirts of Bakhmut, which are located near the highways connecting the city with neighboring Seversk and Slavyansk.
However, these statements have already been partially refuted by the Main Intelligence Directorate (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. “It should be noted that Ukrainian troops were withdrawn from the city of Soledar on January 25, as officially reported by the command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the GUR said in a statement. “As for other settlements, their capture by the enemy is not confirmed at this time. The Ukrainian Defense Forces continue to protect in all directions indicated.
From the northern side of Bakhmut, Russian troops are approaching the highway to the city of Konstantinovka.
The morning report of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine for February 6 stated that Ukrainian troops repelled Russian attacks near the village of Zaliznyanskoye, which is located behind the highway to Seversk, and not in front of it. Also, according to the General Staff, attacks on the village of Ivanovskoye (previously called Chervonoe), which is located behind Klescheevka, directly on the highway to Konstantinovka, were repulsed.
However, already on the evening of February 7, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine reported that in the Bakhmut direction, Kleshcheevka, among others, was shelled by the Russian army (as well as Zaliznyanskoye, Krasnaya Gora, Bakhmut, Ivanovskoye, Nikolaevka, Stupochki, Kurdyumovka, New York and Veseloe). And this means that Klescheevka may still be under the control of the Ukrainian military.
Back in early February, Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine Anna Malyar said that Russia was throwing all its forces into the encirclement of Bakhmut.
Win some time
Colonel-General Alexander Syrsky, Commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, spoke about the situation in Bakhmut recently. He stated that it was this area that had been preparing for defense for a long time, a system of engineering barriers had been created here, and the terrain was conducive to defensive operations.
“A well-thought-out system of engineering barriers, together with the natural landscape, turned this area into a real impregnable fortress, near the walls of which more than one thousand enemies found death,” said the Ukrainian commander. “We use all possibilities, both engineering and natural, to destroy the best units enemy. The battle continues.”
Syrsky the day before visited Bakhmut and directly in the places where the fighting is going on.
“Yes, the situation is very difficult. Everyone should understand what forces are given to us in order to hold the enemy. But at the enemy, in order to advance a few meters, several hundred soldiers lay down. In principle, the task of defending Bakhmut is to grind this horde as much as possible. Three months ago I said that this line of defense is very good in order to grind the Russian troops. Here is the landscape. We are now at a height, we see them all the time, hundreds of drones in the air. Everything is controlled. I think the Ukrainian army is able to withstand this pressure. And when the command says that they need to be removed, we will remove them. Now there is another task, ”Andrei Babichev, a fighter of the 93rd brigade Kholodny Yar, with the call sign YouTube, said in an interview with Radio NV.
However, foreign intelligence and think tanks believe that the Armed Forces of Ukraine may soon be forced to retreat from Bakhmut.
In particular, the head of the Estonian intelligence department, Margo Grosberg, said on February 3 that the Ukrainian military could leave the city, because it would be an unreasonable use of resources to hold it further.
“By holding Bakhmut, Ukrainian forces have bought time to create new lines of defense to protect other areas and settlements such as Kramatorsk and Slovyansk,” Grosberg said. “In the coming weeks, Ukrainian forces may withdraw from Bakhmut. It all depends on the degree of readiness new defensive lines. At some point, it will be unwise to spend resources on holding the city.”
According to Grosberg, the transfer of Bakhmut under the control of the Russian Federation will not lead to any significant changes at the front, but will become for Russia a psychological and moral victory necessary for information operations.
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